Podcasts to Power You Through Your Lab Day

By Gabrielle-Ann Torre

Along with the 75 million monthly listeners in America (Washington Post), I’m a shameless podcast aficionado. The recent surge of pop-culture hits such as Sarah Koenig’s 2014 Serial marked a noticeable increase in media interest on podcasts. The expanse of available podcasts has been overwhelming since iTunes’ inception of a Podcast section in 2005, but winnow through the mass, and you’ll find a great podcast marked by a strong host, worthwhile guests, and interesting topics. To power through tedious lab days, cue podcasts–the minimalist way to stay informed and entertained. Below are my picks to stream in lab:

For the podcast newbie: Serial
Sarah Koenig (of This American Life; see below) follows a murder mystery set in Baltimore, where high-schooler Adnan Syed is accused of murdering ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Koenig does a phenomenal job of generating and sustaining suspense, and the fast-paced “whodunnit” is an ideal introduction for podcast newbies. Season Two is forthcoming, which producers say will follow a new story, so hop on the Serial hype while it’s still fresh. Warning: Be prepared for heated arguments with friends over the murder trial outcome.

For the non-stop science geek: Radiolab
Radiolab is the perfect synthesis of science and stories. If your brain just can’t take a break from science, this podcast is expansively edifying but achieves where many of us scientists fail: delivering scientific facts to a non-scientific audience. Unique to Radiolab is its eccentric sound design, which blends sound bits and commentary in a way that’s bound to keep you awake in lab. Personally, I’m drawn to the great scientists who have been featured on the show, and I can’t wait to hear one of you Scientistas being interviewed on Radiolab.

For the cultural fiend: Fresh Air
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